Contractor Onboarding

Last updated: May 31, 2019

What Does Contractor Onboarding Mean?

Contractor onboarding is a structured process that newly-hired contractors go through before (or soon after) beginning work. It is aimed at mitigating risks and improving efficiency.

Contractor onboarding involves training or screening contractors to ensure that they understand the safety procedures they are expected to perform while working for the company or on a particular project. The onboarding process also generally requires the contractor to accept specific operational and value principles associated with the company.

Safeopedia Explains Contractor Onboarding

Onboarding takes place when the contractor has minimal information about their client’s organizational structure. It is, therefore, a critical point for the client to provide a strong impression of the value they place on safety.

Companies that rely on hiring a large number of contract workers face increased risks due to the large range of safety attitudes and practices that a contract worker could possess. Onboarding mitigates this problem by socializing workers into a uniform system of safety norms that encourages them to accept and invest in the firm’s desired safety culture.


The extensiveness of the onboarding process can depend on the job and the specific safety standards that contractors are required to meet.

Some onboarding processes involve human-to-human interaction and training, and include steps to integrate the contractor into the existing workforce in order to make them a part of the firm’s existing safety culture.

Other onboarding processes are conducted entirely through automated software-driven processes that provide contractors with a series of safety courses that they must complete on their own time in order to gain the right to work on-site.


As a structured process, contractor onboarding procedures provide companies with the opportunity to meet their legal due diligence obligations by ensuring that hired contractors meet all necessary safety requirements before beginning work.

If a contractor must possess qualifications that expire over time, the onboarding process provides an opportunity to collect that information in order to ensure contractors don’t "fall out" of compliance during their work term.


Onboarding for some tasks can be completed using automated contractor management software routines. However, high-risk tasks like the provision of major maintenance to a heavy oil processing facility can necessitate the use of specialized offsite training facilities.

In either case, the onboarding process is often facilitated by a third-party consultancy that specializes in onboarding contractors.


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